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November 10 - November 12

The 8th Annual Magners Irish Film Festival

The Magners Irish Film Festival continues to celebrate the very best of Ireland and the Irish on screen with its 8th annual event on Nov. 9-12, 2006.  (The opening night screening will be held at the Brattle Theatre with all subsequent events at the Harvard Film Archive.)  Expect premiere screenings of the best Irish films to have been released over the past year with guest filmmakers and excellent parties. 

The 8th Annual Magners Irish Film Festival will also continue the BIFF Awards, with filmmakers receiving prizes for Best Feature, Best Documentary and Best Short Subject/Animation.  An Excellence Award will also be given to an internationally renowned figure in acknowledgement of his/her contribution to Irish film/television.  (Past honorees in this category include Jim Sheridan and Gabriel Byrne.)

The Magners Irish Film Festival is produced by BIFF (The Boston Irish Film Festival), which launched the first Irish Film Festival back in 1999.  BIFF continues to produce the event, which was renamed the Magners Irish Film Festival in 2005.

Full details can be found online at

Special Admission - $10/$8, Reception Follows
November 10 (Friday) 7 pm

Badly Drawn Roy

Directed by Alan Shannon, appearing in person
Ireland 2006, video, color, 22 min.
With Maura Shannon, Dermot Shannon

In 1972, in a working class suburb of Dublin an ordinary couple conceive an extraordinary son – Roy, Ireland’s first-ever animated boy born to a live-action family!  Badly Drawn Roy is the wonderfully inventive and hilarious concoction of director Alan Shannon.  We are thrilled to name Badly Drawn Roy this year’s Best Short Fiction/Animation.

Small Engine Repair

Directed by Niall Heery, appearing in person with producer Dominic Wright 
Ireland 2006, 35mm, color, 100 min.
With Iain Glen, Steven Mackintosh, Stuart Graham


Doug (Iain Glen) is an aspiring country singer who has spent his life as a loser in a small rural town with nobody believing in his heartbreaking voice and talent. His wife has left him, he has trouble finding a job and only his best friend Bill (Steven Mackintosh), owner of the titular engine repair shop, stands by him. But Doug has one last chance to make it big.  Director Niall Heery’s debut feature is a crowd-pleasing, feel-good comedy – and Ireland’s first ever country musical!  Winner of this year’s Best Film Award at the Galway Film Fleadh, we are proud to present it here as our 2006 Director’s Choice Award winner.

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Theater 2, Carpenter Center Room B04
November 11 (Saturday) 1 pm

The Green Square Mile: The Story Of The Charlestown Irish

Directed by Maureen McNamara, appearing in person
US 2006, video, color, 60 min.

The Irish built Charlestown yet, because of Boston’s the Puritanical legacy, they have no recorded history there.  Nowhere else in the world was more inhospitable to the Irish than Boston and it was this conflict and turmoil that made the Charlestown Irish truly different from other immigrant communities.  Director Maureen McNamara deftly blends the personal and historical to tell this important chapter in local Irish history.

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November 11 (Saturday) 2 pm

The Brothers

Directed by Mikey O Flatharta, appearing in person
Ireland 2006, video, color, 25 min.
With Nicholas Butler, Paddy Butler

This fascinating documentary examines the relationship of two elderly brothers, Nicholas and Paddy Butler, both bachelors, seemingly poor and living together in a modest farm in Co. Waterford.  In reality however they are both millionaires, wealthy from years of successful beef farming.  And when one of them dies it is revealed that he had a daughter.  Filmmaker Mikey O Flatharta Darba peels back the deceptive layers to reveal the complexities and contradictions that underlie rural Irish life.

Pavee Lackeen

Directed by Perry Odgen
Ireland 2005, 35mm, color, 87 min.
With Winnie Maughan, Rose Maughan, Rosie Maughan

Perry Ogden’s debut feature is an intimate and powerful portrait of Winnie, a resilient and spirited young girl who lives with her family in a dilapidated trailer on the side of a road in Dublin.  Members of Ireland’s marginalized traveler community, Winnie and her family live in Third World poverty, struggling to get by in a modern and highly prosperous Ireland.  Shot in a rough handheld style that recalls the immediacy of the neorealist and cinema verite movements, Pavee Lackeen is a rare and uncompromising look at one of Ireland’s most invisible communities. Winner of the 2005 Irish Film & Television Award for Best Film.

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Theater 2, Carpenter Center Room B04
November 11 (Saturday) 3 pm

Colman Doyle – Abhar Machnaimh

Directed by James Kelly, appearing in person
Ireland 2006, video, color, 52 min.
With Colman Doyle, Michael D. Higgins, John Humes, Bob Quinn

Colman Doyle has photographed Ireland for the past five decades, chronicling in his images the changing nature of the country’s social and political character. Documentary maker James Kelly follows Doyle as he returns to photograph West Kerry and looks back on his astonishing body of work. “An outstanding documentary that lets the man and the work speak for themselves” – The Irish Independent.

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Theater 2, Carpenter Center Room B04
November 11 (Saturday) 5 pm


Directed by Dawn Scibilia, appearing in person with Alan Cooke
Ireland 2006, video, color, 70 min.
With Alan Cooke, Liam Neeson, Frank McCourt, Woody Allen

Dubliner Alan Cooke emigrated to New York in 2001.  His experiences, like that of any immigrant were marked by hopes of a better life, nostalgia for that which was left behind, and a profound preoccupation with the concept of home.  Filmmaker Dawn Scibilia follows Cooke as he walks about his adopted city, reflecting on his life in Ireland and the ways in which New York has became his new “home.” Commentaries from people as diverse as Liam Neeson, Frank McCourt and Woody Allen offer fascinating riffs on Cooke’s musings and collectively attest to the city’s unique ability to embrace its newcomers and become their new home.  The result is a beautifully shot lyrical paean to the immigrant condition.  We are honored to award Home with this year’s Best Documentary Award.

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Special Admission - $10/$8
November 11 (Saturday) 7 pm

Six Shooter

Directed by Martin McDonagh
Ireland 2005, 35mm, color, 27 min.
With Brendan Gleeson, Ruaidhri Conroy, David Wilmot


On a sad train journey home through rural Ireland, an older man (Brendan Gleeson), whose wife has just died that morning, encounters a strange and possibly psychotic young man (Ruaidhri Conroy). Playwright Martin McDonagh’s powerful drama was the winner of the 2005 Academy Award for Short Live Action Film.


Directed by Paul Mercier, Brendan Gleeson appearing in person
Ireland 2006, 35mm, color, 90 min.
With Brendan Gleeson, David Wilmot, Eanna MacLiam,

Dublin’s Emmet Rovers is a ramshackle soccer team with a history of demoralizing defeat – both on the field and off.  Enter Walter Keegan (Brendan Gleeson), the team’s determined new manager. With a mysterious past and a violent temper, Keegan is greeted at first with suspicion but his unorthodox methods (which include insisting that the team remain dry) soon yield results and Emmet Rovers rocket to the top of the league.  Adapted by Paul Mercier from his own hit play, Studs is a hilarious comedy in the tradition of The Commitments and The Full Monty.  Gleeson gives a powerhouse comic performance and is ably supported by a terrific cast featuring David Wilmot and Enna MacLiam.  “On the ball . . . MAGICAL” - The Star.

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November 11 (Saturday) 9:15 pm


Join us for a special 30-minute career retrospective of this year’s Excellence Award Honoree Brendan Gleeson.  Irish film historian, author (and our own Associate Director) Harvey O’Brien will present a brief overview of Mr. Gleeson’s career before our honoree takes to the stage to answer questions from the audience. Proudly supported by the 2006 Reel Ireland Program.

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Theater 2, Carpenter Center Room B04
November 12 (Sunday) 1 pm

Mighty Talk

Directed by Ronan Fox 
Ireland 2005, video, color, 52 min.
With Garry Hynes

This intimate and engaging film documents one of the most extraordinary events in the history of Irish theatre.  In 2005 the Druid theatre company recruited some of Ireland’s leading actors under the directorship of Tony award-winning Garry Hynes to stage the entire works of John Millington Synge, back to back, over eight hours.  The Irish Times termed it “one of the greatest achievements in the history of Irish Theatre” and Mighty Talk provides a fascinating glimpse into the genius behind it

John Mcgahern: A Private World

Directed by Pat Collins
Ireland 2005, video, color, 54 min.

Based on the late writer’s “Memoirs,” this remarkable documentary traces the life and work of Ireland’s leading fiction writer, from his childhood in counties Roscommon and Leitrim to his stunning achievements with the controversial novel The Dark (banned in Ireland for its perceived pornographic content) and his best known book, Amongst Women. Winner of the 2005 Irish Film & Television Awards for Best Documentary.

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November 12 (Sunday) 2 pm

The Unusual Inventions Of Henry Cavendish

Directed by Andrew Legge
Ireland 2005, 35mm, b/w, 15 min.
With Hugh O’Connor, Fiona O’Shaughnessy

A young inventor in Victorian Dublin uses a time machine to foil the machinations of his rival for the love of a beautiful woman.  Andrew Legge’s marvelous and inventive film is a charming throwback to the silent cinema, with smart nods to Buster Keaton and Jules Verne.

Tara Road

Directed by Gilles MacKinnon
USA 2005, 35mm, color, 100 min.
With Andie MacDowell, Olivia Williams, Stephen Rea, Brenda Fricker

Two women, one in America, one in Ireland, both at the emotional crossroads of their lives, decide to do a house-swap. Borrowing something from each other’s lives they find that they alter each other’s destinies.  Maeve Binchy’s much-loved novel makes for a poignant and heartfelt film with terrific performances from Andie MacDowell and Olivia Williams.  Directed by Gilles MacKinnon (The Playboys) and produced by Noel Pearson (My Left Foot), with fine supporting performances from Stephen Rea and Brenda Fricker.

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Theater 2, Carpenter Center Room B04
November 12 (Sunday) 3 pm

The Legend Of Liam Clancy

Directed by Liam Clancy
USA 2006, video, color, 104 min.
With Liam Clancy, Pete Seeger, Jean Ritchie

Liam Clancy, whom Bob Dylan hailed as the greatest ballad singer of all time, is the subject of this definitive documentary by Alan Gilsenan whose feature film Timbuktu won our 2004 Best Feature Award.  Blending interviews with stunning archival footage, Gilsenan uncovers the real story behind the phenomenon that was The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem.  Taking us from the innocence of Clancy’s Irish childhood to the alcoholism and discord that dogged much of his adult life, the film is a testament to the lasting legacy of one of Ireland’s greatest musical ambassadors.

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November 12 (Sunday) 5 pm


Directed by Shane Cowley
Ireland 2005, video, color, 14 min.
With Colin O’Donoghue, John Finegan, Sam Corry

Its late at night and Nick and Shay are cold and wet and in need of a lift home.  Taking shelter at a local 24-hour convenience store/gas station, they encounter night manager Kelvin who is determined to make their situation even worse.  Shane Cowley’s witty comedy won the 2005 Galway Film Centre & RTE Script Award.

Capital Letters

Directed by Ciaran O’Connor
Ireland 2004, video, color, 84 min.
Ruth Negga, Karl Sheils, Neili Conroy, Martin Dunne

The treatment of newcomers in the “land of a thousand welcomes” is the subject of writer-director Ciaran O’Connor’s remarkable debut feature.  Ruth Negga is a revelation as Taiwo, an illegal immigrant who is brought to Ireland by human traffickers.  Forced into prostitution in order to survive, she finds an unlikely friend in Kelly (Karl Sheils), a small time hood who tries to protect her from Dublin’s horrifying underworld.  Visually stunning and tautly told, Capital Letters is both an unflinching examination of Ireland’s exploitation of its immigrants as well as a tender and emotionally compelling love story.

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Theater 2, Carpenter Center Room B04
November 12 (Sunday) 6 pm

Happy Birthday Oscar Wilde

Directed by Bill Huges
Ireland 2005, video, color, 30 min.
With Bono, Martin Sheen, Liam Neeson, Gabriel Byrne

In celebration of the life and works of the great Oscar Wilde, this ebullient documentary presents 150 of the writer’s best quotes delivered by 150 of today’s leading stage, screen and music artists, including Bono, Martin Sheen, Joan Rivers, Liam Neeson and Gabriel Byrne.

Flann O’brien: The Lives Of Brian

Directed by Maurice Sweeney
Ireland 2006, video, color, 53 min.
With Brendan Gleeson, Tom Hickey, Dermot O’Hara

Documentary maker Maurice Sweeney takes an engaging and critical look at the life and works of one of Ireland’s most celebrated and offbeat writers, Flann O’Brien, a.k.a Myles na gGopaleen.  Narrated by this year’s Excellence Award honoree Brendan Gleeson, The Lives of Brian weaves fact and fantasy to create a memorable portrait of the unique talent that brought us such brilliant and surreal masterpieces as The Third Policeman, At Swim Two Birds and The Poor Mouth.

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November 12 (Sunday) 7 pm

Uneasy Piece

Directed by Niall McKay
Ireland 2005, video, color, 15 min.

After decades of violence, Northern Ireland is finally experiencing the possibilities of peace. Journalist and filmmaker Niall McKay examines the North’s recent transition from civil war to civil society and points to the ways in which past wounds are beginning to heal.

Blind Flight

Directed by John Furse
UK 2004, 35mm, color, 97 min.
With Ian Hart, Linus Roache

The 1986 kidnapping of Brian Keenan and his subsequent captivity with John McCarthy in Lebanon is retold here in John Furse’s highly acclaimed and emotionally powerful drama.  Rarely leaving the confines of their small cell, the film chronicles the four years Keenan (Ian Hart) and McCathy (Linus Roache) spent together, emphasizing the cultural and political divisions their friendship overcame as well as the harsh treatment endured at the hands of their captives.   The result is potent drama of the human spirit with stunning performances from Hart and Roche.

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Harvard Film Archive • Carpenter Center • 24 Quincy Street • Cambridge MA 02138 • 617-495-4700